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Minister dr. Podgoršek discusses priorities in fisheries and forestry with Commissioner Sinkevičius

Minister Dr Jože Podgoršek and European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, met today in the late afternoon by videoconference. The Minister has presented to the European Commissioner the Slovenian priorities in fisheries and forestry during the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Minister dr. Jože Podgoršek sepaking to Virginijus Sinkevičius European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries | Author MKGP

At the outset, Minister dr. Podgoršek stressed: "Despite being small, Slovenian fisheries sector is of great importance to Slovenia. It enables us to maintain our tradition as a maritime nation, to sustainably obtain food from the sea and to strengthen our coastal communities and their connection with the sea." In view of these facts, we have also relied on the importance of preserving coastal communities and the tradition of sustainable fishing when defining the priorities of the Presidency.

We set as our first priority the preservation of sustainable fisheries, focusing on small-scale inshore fishing and the preservation of fishing tradition in coastal communities. "We will address this horizontal theme of our Presidency especially within the framework of the meeting of Directors-General for Fisheries in September this year," emphasised Minister Podgoršek. 

In view of the dossiers, the efforts of Slovenia will be primarily focused on the second priority: fishing opportunities for the following year and, consequently, the adoption of three regulations on fishing opportunities, in particular the fishing opportunities for the Atlantic and North Sea.

The third key priority of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU that Minister Podgoršek presented to Commissioner Sinkevičius is the revision of the Regulation on the control system of the common fisheries policy (the Control Regulation). The Minister stressed that Slovenia supports the efforts of the Commission to modernise the Regulation. "However, Slovenia considers that it must be possible to implement the provisions of the regulation, once they are adopted, taking into account the small size and the specific characteristics of the Slovenian fisheries sector," reiterated Minister Podgoršek to Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius in relation to the small size of the Slovenian fisheries sector.

The meeting continued with talks on forestry, which is an important sector for Slovenia. For this reason, the new EU forest strategy will be an important and priority dossier during the Slovenian Presidency. "We would like to conduct a substantive discussion and adopt Council conclusions during our Presidency," said Podgoršek. It is important that the strategy recognises "sustainable, multifunctional and close-to-nature forest management" as the main management principle, as well as the importance of forests in rural development and the importance of wood in the fight against climate change. Slovenia therefore recalls that it is important to achieve balance between social, economic and ecological dimensions.

The priorities of the Slovenian Presidency in the field of forestry include taking further action in the fight against illegal logging and associated trade, and deforestation and forest degradation. The publication of a legislative proposal aimed at minimising the risk of deforestation and forest degradation in relation to products that are placed on the EU market is planned during the Slovenian Presidency.

During its Presidency, Slovenia will address the role of forests and forestry in the preservation and development of rural areas.

Minister Jože Podgoršek invited European Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius to visit Slovenia, where they can examine together best practises in fisheries and forestry. The Commissioner gladly accepted the invitation.